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Meet Angela Ngo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Ngo.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I am a first-generation, Chinese-Vietnamese American. I was born and raised in San Jose, CA. I grew up in a predominantly Southeast Asian and Latinx neighborhood in East San Jose and later moved to South San Jose where I lived out the rest of my teenage years until I left to study botany in college. My mom passed away a couple of months after I was born so my dad and grandparents mostly raised me. My family on both sides were refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia and came to the Bay Area where many other diasporic Southeast Asian refugees decided to continue there lives in after and during the Vietnam War. As a child of refugees, connecting with and supporting the Southeast Asian community became my priority when it comes to creating art as my own methods of preserving my cultural identity.

(BTW, I am not from LA. I’m from the Bay Area.)

Please tell us about your art.
I am a photographer. I work with both digital and film mediums. My portraiture work intends to emphasize and highlight queer people of color and my more journalistic works are meant to follow how we may compromise chaos in our own lives. I think accessibility is the utmost important element as a photographer, especially providing resources and access to those who should be prioritized in being heard. That is why I mostly take on queer POC as my clients; as we are the most undermined voices in today’s world. By working together with my community and people that I am able to relate within our cultural identities, I hope this medium also serves as a way to help others explore and navigate their own selves. I mostly draw inspiration from the punk and DIY music communities. Punk and DIY is counter-culture against the conformity of homogenized society that white media creates and imposes on us. The very resistance against that gives me strength and confidence in my own work because I too can create these spaces for others.

What do you think about the conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
I think art has become a lot more accessible now especially because of social media. It’s a good thing but it could also make things challenging for artists, too. It’s great that there are tons of online groups and pages where people can share their work and also learn how to improve their skills or become interested in pursuing becoming an artist. I’ve been seeing a lot of hashtags circulating throughout social media like Twitter with tags like #visiblewomen ##artvsartist #blackart and it’s really heartwarming to see people feeling empowered by sharing their art or seeing art done by people they relate to. I’m all for trends like those to help marginalized artists be seen. It creates a sense of community, whether it’s online or in-person in local groups. The downside to social media is that there’s just so much to be seen, and each platform has its own algorithm where it limits visibility for a wider audience. This causes searches or top feed items to become saturated with what mainstream popular culture imposes on small, independent artists. So, to combat that, keywords and tools that follow marginalized artists are one of the only ways people can be seen. I hope metropolitan cities can continue to highlight their local craft. It’s way too often that city planners decide to install artworks that will “symbolize” what’s so great about their city, but outsource artists to work on these projects. It happens all the time, and it’s really disheartening and disingenuous. Instead of looking at what’s popular on a wide scale, cities should figure out what’s going on in smaller scenes that make their town unique AND pay their local artists the money they would spend on famous and renowned artists. That’s how you support your community; by making them seen while paying them for their craft.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can visit my website and book me on 0752AM.CO. I’m pretty active on Instagram which is @0752AM. I have other socials using the same handle, but I don’t always post my work consistently so there’s a lot of shit-posting and dog-related content on my socials.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Models: Sam Huang, Peggy Chen, Ricky Oseguera, Wen Neale, and Carmen Wong

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